In-person visits to a member’s Washington, D.C. office are the most effective advocacy strategy to influence lawmakers who are undecided on an issue, according to The Congressional Management Foundation’s 2017 survey of senior congressional staffers.
To help you prepare for conversations with congressional offices, POLITICO Pro’s DataPoint team put together a “Who’s Who” of congressional member offices.
Responsibilities and priorities of roles vary a little in each office, but generally, the structure is as follows.
The Chief of Staff serves as the office “number-One”, managing the policy, comms, and admin departments while also advising the member on political matters. The policy team researches, drafts, communicates about legislation and informs the member on a range of issues before Congress and in committee. The communications team manages media requests, executes a strategy that communicates what the team is doing and raises awareness about issues important to the member’s constituents. The admin team works to keep the office organized and accountable to the member and constituents.
Download a PDF of this DataPoint here.
A basic breakdown of staff roles:
Chief of Staff
- Establish office policies and procedures
- Staffing decisions, employee management
- Manages budget & day-to-day responsibilities
- Advise member on political matters
- Responsible for scheduling engagements
- Organizes and books travel plans
- Assists with office’s finances
Legislative Director (LD)
- Manages legislative assistants and correspondents
- Establish legislative priorities and strategy
- Oversee vote recommendations, create and drive new legislation
Legislative Assistant (LA)
- Conduct research on legislation
- Manages office mail
Legislative Correspondent (LC)
- Research legislation and issue areas
- Draft correspondence to constituents
- Implement a member’s communications strategy
- Manage press team
- Serve as formal spokesperson
- Field media requests
- Execute media strategy
- Draft member’s speeches
- Send press releases and pitch media for coverage
- Compile press clippings on the member or issues that are important to the member’s legislative portfolio
- Oversee office needs
- Manage paperwork and compliance matters
- Answer phones, handle word processing, filing and faxing
- Greet visitors in the reception area
- Handle other general requests
- Oversee office technology, software, and cybersecurity
- Manage subscriptions and passwords
- Ensure that the office aligns with guidelines